Veterinarian Reviewed on June 6, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Platycodon grandiflorum, more commonly known as Platycodon or the Chinese bellflower, is a flowering plant that is native to Japan, China and some parts of Siberia. The plant bears large bell-like flowers with various colors – from pink, blue and white. In alternative medicine, the root of the plant is mainly used as medicine and as a dietary supplement.
Origin and History
The Platycodon root actually has a long and deep history in Chinese culture. It has been used as medicine for many, many years in the country. In fact, the plant is considered to be one of the principal herbs in Chinese herbal books and literature. Aside from that, the root is also a popular ingredient in both Chinese and Japanese cuisine. They are either served fresh or dried. And because of its attractive large flowers, the plant is used as an ornament in gardens as well.
As mentioned earlier, Platycodon is one of the primary herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. The root is believed to have a wide number of medicinal properties and benefits. The root was mainly used to treat abscesses. The herb was later used for other conditions such as inflammation of the head and the neck areas and lung disorders. Old Chinese literature refers to Platycodon as a phlegm-relieving herb. Platycodon can be used per se or it can be combined with other herbs depending on the kind of condition being treated.
The extensive use of the herb by ancient Chinese stirred the curiosity of many medical researchers which led to studies in the characterization of the herb. Research has revealed that the root actually contains large amounts of immunostimulatory substances that can help improve the functioning of the immune system. They can activate cells in the immune system such as the B cells and the macrophages.
Platycodon have also shown promising results as a treatment for diabetes. This is because the plant contains constituent compounds that can regulate and even reduce the amount of glucose in a person’s blood stream. Aside from that, the same tests also revealed that Platycodon’s control does not only apply to glucose levels but blood cholesterol concentrations as well.
Today, they are most known for containing large amounts of saponin or glycosides that can effectively breakdown stored fat in the body. Platycodon today is still available in the same forms that it was available in hundreds of years before, either in dried or in fresh forms.
Side Effects of Platycodon
The use of the herb is contraindicated with diseases such as tuberculosis with bloody coughs and peptic ulcers. But apart from these, the use of Platycodon is considered to be fairly safe, given that they are used at regulated amounts. But still, pregnant and nursing women should stay away from such compounds as much as they can for health reasons. Up to date, there have been no negative side effects reported with the use of the herb.
So if you are planning to make use of Platycodon, then keep these things in mind. First off, make sure that the products you purchase are pure, unadulterated and safe. And second, always use the right doses – which will depend on several factors such as your age, build and health condition.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan